Before I get into the ins and outs of this incredibly breathtaking adventure, one needs to know that to trek into the heart of the ancient Incan Empire in Peru you will need to know that the iconic and unforgettable 24-mile Inca Trail requires a permit.
The main reasons for this are to protect and preserve both the Inca Trail itself and the crown jewel of Peru, the lost city of Machu Picchu.
Both UNESCO and the Peruvian Government have had to further limit tourist access and activity on the Inca Trail, due to both its astonishing popularity and critical fragility in maintaining Machu Picchu and the four-day trek itself.
USIT would advise all Irish travellers who are planning to make this year, the year they visit Peru, to get in touch with us ASAP to ensure we can secure your permits necessary for the Inca Trail. Most are already sold out for this year so get in touch soon to avoid disappointment. You can still go before December but you will need to do the Lares Trek or just get the train to Machu Picchu
Now, back to the matter at hand… The Inca Trail.
High up in the Andes Mountains, through the depths of the jungle, and along treacherous trails is the city the Inca people used to call home. The hidden city of Machu Picchu can be found, but let me tell you, this trip is not for the weak of heart.
While Machu Picchu hasn’t been inhabited since the 16th century, thousands upon thousands of travel enthusiasts make the trek to the ancient city every year. The fact that it’s been voted one of the Top 25 Landmarks in the World by TripAdvisor Readers this year makes it all the more crucial for backpacking pilgrims.
There are three trails up to Macchu Picchu: The Mollepata, The Classic, and One-Day Hike. The two longer treks (Mollepata and the classic) take travellers 4,200 meters above sea level.
To some, the shorter and less strenuous one-day hike sounds ideal. You’re going to see Machu Picchu; that’s the end goal, right?
However, the sights to be seen on the two mountainous trails compare to no other. The trek takes you through forests high up in the clouds, climbing through lavish jungles, and leaves you standing at the edge of the world. “Undertaking something physically unusual and emotionally strenuous” is part of the reward.
Either way, you look at it, you’ll be left breathless.
Part of that ascent into the sky is Dead Woman’s Pass (don’t worry, we’re not heading into Walking Dead territory!) Dead Woman’s Pass is a relentless 1,100m climb up to the tallest peak along the trail, Warmiwanuska, coming in at a whopping 4,215 meters! The trail hasn’t gotten its name because of some freak accident, though. The climb weaves through mountain peaks that look like a woman lying down. Proving once again that men haven’t changed since the 13th century!
Thankfully with either hike, your adventurous crew will be accompanied by a local trail guide. The trail guides are knowledgeable and passionate about Inca culture, their heritage, and the history of Peru. By the time you reach the Sun Gate, you’ll be an expert on all things Inca.
No matter how you get there, one thing that all who climb to Machu Picchu agree on is that it’s well worth it.
So, think you’re ready to book your trek up the Andes? Make sure your permit is secured, plus a Peruvian Tour Guide, accommodation, flights and insurance – It’s kind of what we do.